'We can say no to US pork': Vincent Siew
By Enru Lin, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan has full authority to turn down U.S. requests to open up the pork market, said former Vice President Vincent Siew yesterday.
February 25, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
“As talks unfold under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), both sides will make demands ... That is very normal,” Siew said in Taipei yesterday.
For example, the U.S. may demand that Taiwan loosen its restrictions on pork imports containing ractopamine, he continued.
“We can say no,” said Siew. “It is not as if the U.S. places the request and that's it, the sky falls down.”
Siew, a former premier and economics minister under Lee Teng-hui, is among the chief architects of the TIFA platform.
He emphasized yesterday that TIFA is not an instant cure, but that the platform is a necessary mechanism for advancing the bilateral trade relationship.
Currently the U.S. is not Taiwan's largest export market, but it remains a major trading partner particularly for high-technology manufactured goods. As a result, relations between Taiwan and the U.S. are important to Taiwan's economic stability. TIFA's suspension “has not been normal,” he said.
Upon TIFA resumption, all topics can be discussed, and all problems can be resolved, he said. “It's only a matter of time.”
On March 11, Taiwan and the U.S. are set to restart long-suspended talks under TIFA, a negotiations framework that could lead to a free-trade agreement. The U.S. is planning to promote the free trade of U.S. pork containing ractopamine during TIFA talks, according to American Institute in Taiwan Director Raymond Burghardt.
Representatives from the local agriculture industry, including the R.O.C. Swine Association, have been adamant that Taiwan maintain its ban against pork with ractopamine residue.